By Ellie Moore
The only thing that can come close to the feeling of completing a climb is taking a big whipper while trying your hardest. Sport climbing is a fun activity that combines mental strength with physical prowess. Its unique, I can still get high up a cliff unlike bouldering, t’s flow-y, beautiful, and gets you up the cliff without needing a full trad rack. All you need is a rope, some quickdraws, a good belayer, and a project.
The thing that makes sport climbing so amazing is that I am not thinking about gear placement like with trad climbing and once I’m on the rock I forget everything else and zone in. Getting up quickly with finesse is the goal. Only breaking my trance when the feeling of fatigue comes in and I am close to falling, hopefully in time to tell my belayer.
There are some amazing sport climbing places just north of Fort Collins in the Poudre Canyon. Some popular crags are Crystal Wall and the Poudre Palace both about 15 miles up the canyon with parking right after the tunnel. The granite is superb and the views while climbing are breathtaking. Both these areas have a range of climbs from easy to hard. One thing to note is that the Palace requires a river crossing and during high water it is dangerous to cross so only cross if it is low enough (high water typically occurs from May to the end of July).
Anyone interested in sport climbing should go learn how to do so from the rec, the CSU Outdoor Club or Program or climbing gyms. Then practice your skills and find some capable people to climb with. Invest in some gear and then get outside and have fun! Be safe and climb hard or go home!